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Interview with Sergio Paneque April 2020

Apr 15, 2020

Sergio Paneque

During this unprecedented crisis, as the NYC scrambles for a huge amount of resources, you were the CPO during H1N1, SARS, and Hurricane Sandy, what are some of your insights during a crisis?

  • When you are sourcing for an emergency situation – you usually are not dealing with factors that impact the entire Country let alone the Globe. I led Procurement during SARS and H1N1 but it never took down the whole Country like this. You need to buy everything, no one will fault you for being overprepared but when lives are the on the line you better not be under prepared.

You are very familiar with the inner workings of the State and City, how does the Government respond? What is mobilized in a crisis?

  • First and foremost is the particular agencies leading the situation who will set up an Emergency Op Center and they will dictate NEEDS. Once the “determination of need” is decided from there then the sourcing follows. Criticality and time is of the essence. 

In a crisis it’s not just the Government procurement under huge amounts of stressors, but also the Private sector – what advice would you give procurement in the Private sector as they all struggle to keep up with the demands?

  • I would tell vendors “Nobody is asking for handouts, the government will pay, there’s no donating, everybody has to make money.” So act as if the orders will come, and they will. You need to be prepared.

When you need resources in a crisis, what is the strategy?

  • BUY EVERYTHING. “The paper will follow”. Yes, negotiate to what you feel market price is but you need to act quickly. Lives are at stake. The normal process and order of things CANNOT be kept in place. 

What are your thoughts about price gouging from companies during these types of crisis?

  • The vendor community can make money but BETTER make sure you aren’t gouging. The government takes note and will come back around after the pandemic is over as I have seen it happen rightfully so. You need to do business in good faith.